Definitely unusual

Tennessee's procedure manual for executing prisoners is a jumble of conflicting instructions that mixes new lethal injection instructions with those for the old electric chair, an Associated Press review found.

Before a lethal injection, the 100-page "Manual of Execution" instructs prison officials to begin by shaving the condemned prisoner's head -- as if preparing him for electrocution. They would also need a fire extinguisher nearby, it says.


The manual's minute-by-minute guidelines for lethal injections includes the instruction: "The Executioner will engage the automatic rheostat." A rheostat controls the voltage flowing to an electric chair.

The guidelines also tell the facility manager to disconnect the electrical cables in the rear of the chair before a doctor checks whether the lethal injection was successful.

Bredesen said Tennessee's execution teams have relied on an "oral tradition" and routine drills have ensured that lethal injections have been given properly. |CNN|

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